Over 10 years later, Nintendo is making amends for its Zelda and Peach crimes


Princess Zelda will be a playable protagonist in the main Legend of Zelda game The Legend of Zelda: Echoes of Wisdom. Both in terms of its game design philosophy – Zelda doesn’t wield a sword, but a wand that can replicate objects – and the decision to make the princess the main character, the game looks like it could be a bold next step in the Legend of Zelda story as a whole. Between then and release The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom last year it was an electrifying time to be a Zelda fan.

However, Nintendo hasn’t always been this bold in its decision to include women in gaming, nor has it always been tactful in portraying these women when they get their huge break in the spotlight. Just look at Nintendo’s other leading lady, Princess Peach. Her first huge adventure as a Mario character came in 2005 with the Nintendo DS game Super Princess Peach. The game featured a “vibration” system that allowed Peach to release her overwhelming emotions to perform special attacks. It stood out in its own way back then perpetuated stereotypes that women are overly emotionaleven though it presents her as the main character.

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However, 2024 has clearly brought some change in the way Nintendo views its princesses. Princess Peach: It’s show time! was undoubtedly a step forward for Peach and the way the games treated her. Instead of fueling her power with uncontrolled emotions, Princess Peach can take on countless forms using stage props and costumes; she can be sturdy like a fencer or graceful like a figure skater and once again she is a star at her own game. And despite not being playable, Princess Zelda played a very dynamic role in the story Tears of the Kingdom working to get Link prepared for victory (although this interpretation is complicated). These games are now connected to the fact that we’ve taken one of the most essential steps of all: a playable Zelda.

This isn’t the first time Princess Zelda has been playable. Players can fight as her in spin-off games such as Hyrule Warriors, and she can also be played as a ghost in The Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass; You can also play it Zelda: Gamelon’s Wand and 1996 Zelda’s Adventure. However, her appearance in this role – in her own game – has been long overdue.

The Legend of Zelda continues to be one of the most essential video game franchises in Nintendo’s history, and it continues to turn its back on Zelda. Don’t get me wrong, I still love playing as my twinkified Link and dressing him in cute outfits, but I think it’s worth trying something modern. I want to experience The Legend of Zelda as Zelda herself, and now I and many other fans will finally have a real chance to do so when the game arrives on Nintendo Switch on September 26.

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